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Dr. Tessie San Martin to step down from Plan International USA

Washington, D.C. — The Board of Directors of Plan International USA announced today that President & CEO Dr. Tessie San Martin will step down from the global girls’ rights and children’s aid nonprofit on Sept. 18 to join FHI 360 as its CEO. 

Over her more than a decade of leadership, Dr. San Martin spearheaded the growth of Plan International USA’s government portfolio and initiated its first major private fundraising campaign, engaging volunteers with a vision of raising $200 million to improve the lives of 10 million girls. She has been an ardent champion of modernizing the delivery of foreign assistance through localization, and a leading voice informing U.S. children’s aid policy around the world.

Longtime Chief Marketing and Human Resources Officer, Shanna Marzilli, will lead the organization as interim CEO during the search for Dr. San Martin’s successor. Under Marzilli’s leadership, Plan has successfully expanded its advocacy efforts on behalf of children and girls by focusing on the power of young people to achieve transformative change in the U.S. and abroad. In overseeing all of Plan’s private fundraising, brand marketing and communications strategies, she has significantly expanded the organization’s donor base and marketing partnerships to support a broad array of programs focused on keeping girls safe, educated and economically empowered.

“In this time of COVID-19, conflict and a seemingly endless stream of natural and man-made disasters, Plan’s mission of protecting the rights and improving the lives of children and girls has never been more vital,” Dr. San Martin said in announcing her departure to Plan staff. “Being chosen to lead the transformation of FHI 360 is to me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to influence the very evolution of international development assistance in an increasingly fraught world. I am eager to take on my next challenge secure in the knowledge that I am leaving Plan in very capable hands.”   

“While we are sad to lose Tessie’s insight and fierce advocacy, it is clearly a wonderful opportunity for her to exercise her leadership skills in a larger arena and to continue to make structural changes in the way foreign assistance is delivered,” said Plan International USA Board Chair Ann C. O’Brien. “We know we can count on the strong team that remains in place and on Shanna’s leadership to continue to drive our strategic plan forward and advance Plan’s efforts to improve the lives of millions more girls and children around the globe.”


About Plan International USA

Powered by supporters, Plan International USA partners with adolescent girls, young women and children around the world to overcome oppression and gender inequality, providing the support and resources that are unique to their needs and the needs of their communities, ensuring they achieve their full potential with dignity, opportunity and safety. Founded in 1937, Plan is an independent development and humanitarian organization that is active in more than 80 countries.

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